I always liked watching illustrations in newspapers and magazines when I was a kid. My dad was sitting in the kitchen at night, listening to free jazz, reading newspapers. At this time, I was painting a lot, like all kids probably do. My first money in school came from drawings for hotels, and small journals. During my studies, I was hired to do the illustrations for a spanish book at Freie Universität Berlin. But I never thought, making a living out of it. These were the 90s! No facebook, no insta, not even mobile phones... I wrote my first email in the students' council and registered for economics and social sciences.
After the graduate degree in Business Administration, I worked several years in software projects in Berlin. I got to know working in "agile teams" and made friends with the designers and developers. We considered the company as a family, and we stood on the balcony, smoking and debating until late at night. I was lucky to know my spouse, and took a time off to raise a family and have children - and so, life changed again (profoundly!).
Someone told me once: "Illustration is not about the inking, it is about the thinking..." This kept me on track! I re-started practicing (all miserable!), asking my family for feedback (completely ignorant!). Maybe my experiences as a project manager could help a bit in expressing things visually? I went to some workshops and studied the pictures in newspapers again. I bought a pen tablet and software for manga designers. I ordered business cards, and asked my friends to show me tricks in Photoshop.
Today, I work as a freelance illustrator. Over the time, I learned to reduce complexity, and work on a more symbolic level. Sometimes, I have to draw weird things like "the wolf on the motorbike" or "intestinal bacteria" (!). So, I might ask myself "how can I do this", and start sketching, scribbling. I have a great passion for digital art, and I am happy to realize more and more projects recently. Most inspiring for me, working as an illustrator, is to learn from my kids drawing freely and joyfully - and, by the projects talking to all kinds of different people and learning about their businesses and ideas.
November 2017, Julia Zschiedrich